AMSTERDAM — In a corporate reshuffle at its highest level, Scandinavian channel launcher Modern Times Group has tapped chief operating officer Hans-Holger Albrecht to take over as the group’s new president and CEO.
Albrecht will move into the position Oct. 1 after the departure of longtime MTG topper Pele Tornberg, who will step over to become president of Metro Intl., a print vehicle that is being spun off from MTG and that will launch a separate public offering Friday.
The announcement of Albrecht’s appointment comes as MTG, which owns 12 TV channels, an array of production and Web companies and radio channels across the Nordic and Baltic States territories, posted record revenues and profits in its first half of the year.
Staying the course
Albrecht told Daily Variety he “had no intentions of making changes to a winning team” when he takes over, and the company will continue to focus on improving revenues to its TV and radio operations.
MTG posted net sales of 2.6 billion kronas ($323 million) for the first half of 2000, a 22% rise from figures for the same period in 1999. Earnings after taxes in the same term rose to $23.4 million, up from $9.7 million.
Albrecht moved over in 1997 to MTG from CLT/Ufa, where he headed the pay TV activities for German-speaking territories for five years.
Under his sojourn, first as head of MTG’s pay TV division, then CEO of ViaSat broadcasting, MTG’s broadcast activities were completely reorganized; the company launched an analog platform in the Nordic and Baltic territories, and is set to launch a new digital platform Sept. 1. He was appointed chief operating officer in May.
MTG’s profit picture in the broadcast sector also improved from a $50 million loss to a reported profit of $41 million. Subscribership to its premium services moved from 30,000 to some 350,000 in the same time period.
Tornberg has been in his position since MTG’s creation, when it launched first as a division of the Scandinavian media giant Kinnevik Group and then as a spinoff from Kinnevik in 1997.